P-Funk Vocalist and Lyricist Ron “Prophet” Ford Dead at 67

Ron “Prophet” Ford, a pioneering musician and key member of Parliament Funkadelic, died this week, according to social media postings and press reports. The cause of death was reportedly liver disease. He was 67.

Ford helped shape the evolution of funk as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, arranger and record producer. He worked with P-Funk related groups that included Bootsy’s Rubber Band, Parlet, the Brides of Funkenstein and the P-Funk All-Stars.

In some ways Ford’s musical journey began in a barbershop that George Clinton, leader of Parliament Funkadelic, started in Plainfield, N.J., in the 1960s, a report on the Asbury Park (N.J) Press website said. Ford became one of Clinton’s first employees in the barbershop, and together they learned to cut hair.

Ford later moved to Detroit with Clinton. Eventually, they joined Jobete, the New York branch of Motown, Clinton told the Asbury Park Press. During the 1970s and ‘80s, Ford looked out for Clinton’s financial dealings in the whirlwind of the music business, Clinton said.

For a time Ford, his wife and two children became homeless in Los Angeles, published reports said. He regained his financial health when he rejoined Clinton’s musical enterprises.

Family members have set up a gofundme page to request contributions to cover Ford’s funeral expenses and the cost of a headstone. In two days, 50 mourners donated $3,850 toward the family’s goal of $5,000.

“As many of you know, a great man and a great entertainer was called home Monday, December 28th,” the family wrote on the gofundme site. “Please help us send Ron Ford home with the dignity and integrity he shared with all of us.”

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